As the weather warms and the days get longer, we all long to spend more time outside. Our clients, Mark and Janet, were frustrated by their existing deck and wanted to create an outdoor space for barbecues and entertaining friends and family — especially their two young granddaughters.

The existing deck was exposed on sunny days, and uncomfortably hot. The lower patio was in bad shape, plagued by terrible drainage resulting in a pool of water every time it rained. 

When designing and building their new outdoor space, the safety of their granddaughters was paramount. Mark and Janet needed everything to be safe and secure when the girls, who visit often, were playing outside.

Two Levels for Living

With all of that in mind, we designed a larger two-level deck. The upper level contains the large dining table and the gas grill. To provide the desired shade, the upper portion of the deck is topped with an attractive and functional pergola. For safety after dark, light is provided by two fixtures on either side of the door to the inside, as well as integrated into the top of the newel posts around both tiers.

The second level is one step down and opens to the sky, making it perfect for stargazing on a warm summer night. The gas-fueled fire pit is fitted with see-through panels surrounding the flames for added peace of mind and protection. Comfortable chairs ring the fire pit in this dedicated lounge area.

The Safety Factor

With safety and security in mind, we added lighting under the steps between the two tiers, as well as the stairs down to the lawn for better visibility. We used two tones of decking materials, which clearly mark the perimeter of the deck and where the stairs begin. It boosts safety while adding contrast and style. 

Kids like to explore and hide. To prevent the two young girls from going under the deck, the entire structure is enclosed in vertical decking. It’s a great-looking solution that creates a uniform exterior. 

To solve the puddling issue on the ground level after heavy rains, we improved the drainage by installing a linear drain system. Rainwater is redirected away from the home with a hidden underground drain, which takes the moisture to the back corner of the property. 

This outdoor living project is truly a thoughtful marriage of form and function, sure to be the safe and welcoming space for entertaining and gathering to enjoy the beautiful views.